There are two key things when sneaking something into the movies: what you sneak in should be healthy, because anything you can get at the movies is not, and it should be easily containable. This is where your soft plastic tupperware containers come in, as well as maybe some plastic wrap or tin foil to keep all of the crumbs in place. Some other tips: Don't draw attention to yourself. If you go alone, sit with a buffer of one empty seat on either side of you (as if you wouldn't anyway, am I right?). See something loud. This might seem silly, but you're going to get away with eating a lot of chips if you go see something like Zero Dark Thirty rather than the new Woody Allen. If you can't or really don't want to see something that will be loud, go to a movie where you know there will be others like you, and therefore less likely to rat you out. I'm guessing... the rom-com crowd? Maybe? You'll find of the items below hidden in their laps for sure.
Let's just dive right in.
15 Chips - Family Size
You do not have to have a family to go in with one of these. Trust me. With nothing to do but stare at the screen, you will mindlessly finish a family size bag of chips before the end of the previews. They're not very good for you, but they're going to be a lot cheaper than whatever other unhealthy snack you were planning on getting at the concession stand. You're winning when you sneak something past the people guarding the cinemas, and your prize is your food.
When movies cost (at the very least) $12.50 per ticket – and usually more, because what big movie doesn't force you to see it in 3D? – you should be allowed to bring whatever you want from home. You should be allowed to make a smoothie in the cinema. They should be catering for you, considering what you pay!
14 Coffee Drinks
The great thing about coffee drinks is most theatres will sell them in the lobby. They usually have deals with big companies like Starbucks or Tim Horton's. This means nothing will seem out of the ordinary when that sweet aroma drifts around the heads of other moviegoers. The other good thing about bringing this life-giving elixir is that you can be discreet. It's not loud like when you chew something, and you could potentially hide it in an existing movie cup, just ask your friend to dump theirs out. Maybe that's too much to ask. If it is, sip your coffee in its home cup and forget about it.
There's one thing I want to warn if you wish to choose coffee as your movie snack – you'll be getting up and going to the washroom every other scene. Good luck.
13 Chocolate Bars
You take chocolate bars to the movies directly after Halloween. Think of the mix of the crunch-crunch-crunch with the jump scares built into the horror movies released around then. Just incredible. The atmosphere is perfect. A chocolate bar is essentially a tool of suspense.
The other great thing is, it's extremely easy to hide. A family size bag of chips might be hard to sneak into your purse, or backpack, or beneath your shirt without making noise or having it protrude awkwardly, but you could hide many, many chocolate bars, especially if they're the tiny ones that go out on Halloween so often.
Also, if you figure out a way to sneak an entire family sized bag of chips into the movies, why not just sneak one of those bulk boxes of chocolate bars?
12 Chinese Food
The possibility of Chinese food depends on location. You can get away with this two ways: wait until the food is cold, and then bring it, because the smell will be gone, or go to a place where you know other people will bring in Chinese food. Plenty of cinemas are located dead centre in multicultural areas and (I know, I have always lived around one) people bring all kinds of things. The mix of smells in a movie theatre in anywhere from a city to a well-populated suburban town will become a mask of sorts for your own petty crime. What would be a real, jailable crime would be to not bring what you want to eat into a movie theatre. Just remember to bring something with which you can eat the food.
Same kind of thing goes for Sushi, except it carries less of a smell (depending) and it's more easily transferrable in a tupperware container, or its own container, which you should get from wherever you buy it unless the place is evil. Not only is sushi healthy, it's also filling, which means you won't have a craving for something at the concession after finishing off what you brought from home, or the restaurant at which you last ate.
This is a great "plan ahead" item, too. Who says you can't make your own sushi? You'll save money, you'll have a ton of fun before going to the movie, and it'll be yours to eat throughout the film. Remember to bring along some wasabi and ginger!
The second trickiest item on this list: Soup. It sloshes around. It's got to be kept wrapped up. It also emanates a smell. The payoff though, oh the payoff. You have no idea. The best way to bring soup is in a thermos. Thermoses are typically small enough to store in a backpack, purse, or some other unremarkable bag that can get through security.
Like I mentioned, the biggest problem is the smell. It's pungent, just like Chinese food, so you might need to sit up near the top of the theatre, where the heat will rise and it won't as badly effect those down below you. For their benefit, you should probably keep the slurping to a medium, because you don't want to become an added instrument for the score.
Speaking of instruments, remember to bring a spoon (or make a soup that doesn't have chunks, and you can just... kind of... drink it).
9 Ice Cream
Ice cream. This is the hardest item on the list by far. If it's summer, it's going to melt all over your hands, and no number napkins will help you like a short trip to the washroom could, but then what will you miss in your movie!? To avoid this, use your trusty tupperware container and buy ice cream before you go to the theatre. Bring a spoon and dig in, because the best thing about this ice cream (besides the taste) is you don't make a noise when you eat it, and it doesn't create a smell that will bother the other moviegoers.
In fact, the only thing that might bother the other viewers is just that you have ice cream at all. Enjoy.
8 Fried Chickpeas
Fried chickpeas: Kind of like candy, but not. Chickpeas go in hummus, tofu, salads, stews, and many other dishes. It's safe to say that they're versatile as hell, and so why not lump them in with a number of other multifaceted foods you can snack on at the movies?
Your hands might get a little sticky eating them, or at the very least salty, and the crunch could be disruptive, but people will just assume you're eating popcorn or some sort of candy from the concession, and so you will not draw attention to yourself.
What make chickpeas so great is they go really well with not only different sauces (which you can drizzle over them) but you can eat them with greens.
Take a few and see what you think at your next movie.
7 Oatmeal Bars
Look, what is there to say about oatmeal bars that haven't been said already. They fill you up, they taste great, they're discreet. They're like chocolate bars' better, healthier cousin... that does cross fit. They may look bulky but it's only because of how many great things make up its body. You can stash them pretty much anywhere, even in your pocket, before a movie, and they go great with virtually any kind of drink (and any kind of movie!) They don't crunch when you bite into them, and they don't smell. I don't really know what more you could ask for when you're looking for something to snack on at the movies. You don't even have to focus on it, or hold its container. It's all just there wrapped for you. Don't miss out, and buy or home-make some oatmeal bars for your next show.
6 Trail Mix
Trail mix looks like bird food and tastes like candy, which is kind of awesome. Birds would be lucky. You can grab a handful and down them. They've got a ton of nutritious value, and you can dole them out to your buddies like they're popcorn. They're also extremely cheap to buy in bulk, or you can buy your own foods to mix together and bring in a bag -- because virtually any nut mix can become trail max. The term is extremely loose, thankfully. In fact, popcorn is often included in trail mix! So how about that. You've got a classic staple of the movies without actually buying that staple from the cinema itself.
Pro tip: The best way to avoid any noise (like if they're in tupperware) is to bring them in a plastic bag.
Burritos: The opposite of trail mix. I know what you're thinking. They're super messy. But no, they're not! If you get one from a place that doesn't give it to you in a tinfoil wrap, give yourself enough time to go home, or remember to bring one before you leave, and wrap the burrito in that. It's a surefire way to keep all the burrito contents (drippy sauce included) off your hands and out of your lap, if not also inside the wrap. Burritos are also big enough to fit whatever you want inside. You're not confined to just a few types of nuts, or to chocolate, no, with burritos you can fill it with chicken, tofu, beef, leafy greens, different sauces, and even those chickpeas I mentioned, or even beans. You're basically eating a full course dinner in a hot pocket, so you're not gonna find anything better on this list.
4 Caramel Corn
Caramel corn acts as a nice compromise between the kind of unhealthy food you wish you could have all the time, and the good food you know you should have more often. Popcorn, depending on what's put on it and whether it's baked or made some other way, can be healthy. The caramel is what gives it that delicious "bad" taste you crave when you go to the movies and want something salty. You're going to get something just as bad or worse at the concession, so why not take the time to go either make this at your own home or buy it from a grocery store and avoid paying the ridiculously marked up prices on theatre food? My alternate suggestion is take the healthy route and buy some unsalted popcorn and add some healthier home-made sauce.
Pretzels fit into the same category as caramel popcorn, although I'd argue they might actually be healthier. There are plenty of options at your local grocery store geared towards keeping you healthy while also giving you what you want: a tasty snack. Pretzels operate in a kind of bottomless vacuum, because somehow the amount you can eat seems infinite. These are ones you're going to want to parse out throughout the movie, so I'd suggest actually bringing two containers and putting half of the whole amount you're going to eat into one, and the other half into the other. This way you when you finish the first, you'll see it as a kind of mark in the sand, and should you want some more food during the boring second act stuff, more is there for you!
2 Crackers and Hummus
Chips and hummus, ahhh chips and hummus. It's perfect, really, because you won't get tired of either thing. When you feel like you've had too much hummus (as if) you can just eat the chips themselves. The difference will be a kind of refresher, though I'm sure soon you'll be back to the hummus. The only problem is keeping the hummus cold. For this, I suggest either bringing along an ice pack and putting it snugly next to the hummus in your bag (like your parents used to do for your lunch), or eat it pretty much as soon as you're in the dark. Both are great options and sure to keep you happy and full throughout the movie.
Pro tip: On the off chance you get sick of the chips, bring carrots. They go just as well with hummus and they're even healthier, which means less of a guilty conscience!
1 Kale Chips
Kale chips are great because they're basically killing two birds with one stone. They serve as a kind of healthy, leafy green that you'd want in your snack variety anyway, and they taste ridiculously good! They actually serve two other functions, too: They're strong enough (like chips) to eat with hummus, for example. They're crunchy in the way you want.
I feel like I don't even have to spin this for you, because what's there that's bad for you, or tastes bad? One major thing is you must pick leaves of kale that have strong stems or otherwise they'll kind of melt down and you don't wet chips, right? That sounds pretty awful, so bake them correctly and use them like the snack tool they're meant to be.
Enjoy whatever movie you see!